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Thursday, March 20, 2014

THE 2014 ELECTION EDITION, Part 1 of 2

On February 28, 2014, the deadline ended for members of Priority One Credit Union to submit their nominations to run for a seat on either the Board of Directors or Supervisory Committee. Normally, nominees and incumbents hoping to be re-elected, would vie for a seat on either governing body so that they ensure the continued sound and stable operation of the credit union. Of course, the credit union's performance during the past 7 years reveals something is sorely amiss. The annual closure of branches since 2010 coupled by plummeting income and deficient marketing, indicates that qualified and knowledgeable officers are not currently occupying either the Board or Supervisory Committee. 

The credit union's Balance Sheet/Income Statements confirm that fees and charges levied to members now are a key source of income for the credit union while the closure of 6 branches in the past 4 years suggests reducing expenses has become critical to Priority One's survival. And though the credit union's capital remains high, the closure of branches coupled by a loss of more than $24 million in Net Income since January 1, 2007, clearly points to an inability to create a reliable and ongoing streams of income that generate profit, cover the costs of overhead, and which create the prospect for growth. Though Priority One's Board of Directors are the ultimate decision-making authority at the credit union and though they are responsible for directing and controlling the affairs of the credit union needed to ensure effective and efficient management, the current Directors have proven they each lack the competency and education needed to properly maintain the credit union's operation.

Certainly, President R. Wiggington, Sr. is a key cause for the credit union's continued decline which began when he was appointed President on January 1, 2007, however, it would have been impossible for his often horrendous and detrimental decisions to have ever occurred without the abhorrent incompetence of the Directors whose subservience to Chairperson, Diedra Harris-Brooks, has led to Priority One's apparently unstoppable deterioration. After all, its is Mrs. Harris-Brooks who in late 2006, urged the Directors to select Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. as the next President and CEO of the then thriving credit union. It was also Mrs. Harris-Brooks who aggressively pushed and won the reinstatement of President Wiggington following an 8-week suspension during which an investigation uncovered evidence he sexually harassed a former employee. 

It is also important to note that unlike other credit unions, Priority One's Board relies on the President and his executive staff to interpret the financial information they are provided. The Board's ignorance about financials and management and their compromising relationship to the President are critical component to Priority One's decline.  


Unless members submitted their nominations by February 28, 2014, Priority One Credit Union may not have an election. This phenomena of disinterest in the credit union by members began in the years after Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. became President though we believe the apathy towards the credit union was begun when Board Chairperson, Diedra Harris-Brooks, decided to interfere with the credit union's electoral process. In this post, we will show how the Chairperson's decisions and unwavering patronization of the President created an opportunity for the many debacles which have negatively impacted Priority One Credit Union since January 2007.  It is well-documented that Mrs. Harris-Brooks has exerted tremendous time, effort and credit union monies to ensure Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. remains President of what is no longer a competitive credit union and all at the cost to business, the internal operation, employee morale, and the credit union's very public reputation. 

To draw a reasonable parallel between the decisions made and actions taken by Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the credit union's ongoing failures, we've decided to publish documents she authored in which she describes her competencies and education and present these alongside facts confirming the credit union's actual performance during the period she has served as Board Chairperson. 

Over the past 7 years, Mrs. Harris-Brooks has ruled over a Board comprised of Directors who lack an understanding of the credit union's financial reports and whose subservience has allowed the Board Chair to exceed the state-mandated perimeters of her position. Here is a summary of some of the decisions authorized, enabled, and sanctioned by the Mrs. Harris-Brooks and her Board:
  • In 2007, Mrs. Harris-Brooks also authorized the President to dismantle the credit union’s once prize-winning Marketing Department and it was also Mrs. Harris-Brooks who allowed the President to lay-off the department’s Director and instead, install a Marketing Committee comprised of credit union employees all inexperienced in marketing.
  • In mid-2008, Mrs. Harris-Brooks led the Board into authorizing President Wiggington to borrow $20 million from the credit union’s line-of-credit for the mere purpose of plumping up the credit union’s net income which had begun to slip soon after Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. was appointed President.
  • In 2008, an investigation of President proved he sexually harassed a former employee, however, Mrs. Harris-Brooks knew she could only continue to exact her control over the credit union if Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. remained in office. Literally suppressing and ignoring the evidence gathered by an investigator from EXTTI, Inc., Mrs. Harris-Brooks led a battalion consisting of Directors, O. Glen Saffold and Thomas Gathers, and Supervisory Committee Chair, Cornelia Simmons, into voting for President Wiggington’s reinstatement. Mrs. Harris-Brooks and her pack held the majority vote and won reinstatement of the guilty President. Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. returned to work and led the credit union into failure, ending 2008, 2009, and 2010 immersed in the negative.
  • In early 2009, the President and Mrs. Harris-Brooks decided that there was a group of rebel employees residing within the credit union and that they must be ousted to bring an end to the criticisms regarding how Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. chose to do business. It apparently never occurred to Mrs. Harris-Brooks that acting ethically and focusing on business could have more effectively dispelled criticisms than launching a full fledged and very public witch-hunt. To resolve the issue, Mrs. Harris-Brooks authorized the hiring of Beatrice Walker, to serve as the credit union’s first Chief of Operations ("COO").  Ms. Walker arrived at the credit union on June 1, 2009. allegedly for the purpose of creating new streams of income, however, just prior to her arrival, the President divulged that the new COO would help target and vanquish his enemies. During Mrs. Walker's tumultuous 25-month stay, she wrecked havoc upon business, employee morale, and became the source of vicious gossip slandering numerous employees. However, her undisciplined need to control all things soon created a conflict with the President, the Executive Vice President, and eventually the Board of Directors. In July 2011, she was abruptly terminated for failing to fulfill her assigned responsibilities, for failing to bring an end to the President's detractors, and for defying the President and Board. Ms. Walker exorbitant spending failed to generate the amount of business she said would be reaped if she were allowed to implement changes without interference of the President. The Board eventually tired of her failures and became concerned about rumors regarding her sexuality. They ordered her to submit any proposed changes to policy and procedures or proposed campaigns, to either President Wiggington or Executive Vice President, Rodger Smock. Ms. Walker became incensed and complained that the "uneducated" Board was forcing her to obtain approval from the President and Executive Vice President, both of who she described as intellectually inferior. Unfortunately, for Ms. Walker, her murmurings reached the Board who ordered her ouster. 
  • In November 2009, Mrs. Harris-Brooks, President Wiggington, and Director, Bobby Thomas, interfered with the electoral process and manipulated what should have been a fair and democratic process all in an effort to retain the current Board of Directors who pander to Mrs. Harris-Brooks’ every whim. More on this, in April's post.
  • Beginning in 2010, Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the Board authorized spending on refurbishing the appearance of the main branch in South Pasadena and the lobby of the now Burbank branch, believing these would draw new business and increase membership.  Two years after the refurbishments were completed, the Burbank branch permanently closed its doors.
  • In 2010, Mrs. Harris-Brooks began authorizing the hiring of attorneys to defend the credit union against lawsuits filed by former employees and members. During the years of 2010-2014, the credit union spent more than $500,000 in legal fees.
  • Since 2010, Mrs. Harris-Brooks approved the President's plan to implement drastic expense reductions to marketing and business development. 
  • Beginning in 2010 and upon the advice of then COO, Beatrice Walker, Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the Board began implementing increased fees and charges to members. Not only has the credit union developed an addictive reliance on fees and charges as a key source of income, but it now resembles a bank more than it does a credit union.
  • Since October 2010 and again, under Mrs. Harris-Brooks, Priority One has closed 6 of 9 branches.
  • In 2011, Mrs. Harris-Brooks authorized the hiring of CLO, Cindy Garvin, who began working at the credit union on 8/01/11 and would be responsible for developing new  streams of income, jump starting lagging loan development, revamping the business development team, creating effective and cutting edge marketing strategies, and overseeing all of Priority One’s branches. At the time of her arrival, Rodger Smock  issued a memorandum to all employees, praising Ms. Garvin’s extensive past work experience. Despite the fanfare which accompanied her arrival, Ms. Garvin’s employment ended abruptly on 12/28/12, for allegedly failing to fulfill her assigned responsibilities.
  • It is also Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the Board who have continually authorized the hiring of expensive consultants over the past 7 years and whose expensive strategies have failed to improve business. The changes suggested by consultants included administering tests in 2009 to determine the likes, strengths, and knowledge of all employees so that personnel could be assigned to positions where they would best serve the credit union. After more than $30,000, none of the findings were used for staff development. In 2012. upon the advise of consultants, the credit union revamped its webpage, introduced an app for smartphones and saturated the Internet with copies of President Wiggington's and Executive Vice President, Rodger Smock's biographies. The webpage, app and inaccurate biographies have evidently not helped bolster business. 
Clearly, Mrs. Harris-Brooks has proven to be an adverse influence and can't be excluded as a factor contributing to the credit union's inability to develop new business, increase membership, and service its vast territories. Prior to January 1, 2007, the credit union merged with several smaller credit unions and as a result, incrementally increased its physical size and Net Income. Since Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. became President and under the Board Chair, the credit union has been forced to close branches and is now unable to service its vast territories, prompting them to emphasize home banking services and Shared Branching.  

It is also Mrs. Harris-Brooks who authorized the spending of more than $500,000 on attorney fees during the years of 2010-2014, in an effort to both defend the credit union from prosecution against allegations its officers violate federal and state laws and to cover-up incidents of wrong doing committed by the President, Human Resources, and other members of the executive sector. It is also Mrs. Harris-Brooks who authorized the settlement of 3 lawsuits filed by former employees. In her zeal to retain the horrendous President on payroll, Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the Board compromised the credit union's relationship with the communities it serves along with SEG's, postal employees, chapters, and city chambers. 

How the Board Chair Ruined the Electoral Process

In recent years, Board Directors, Thomas Gathers and Janice Irving resigned while the remaining Directors have been in place for more than 7 years, though not because of their devotion to the credit union, competency, or keen intellect. To the contrary, they remain on the Board in spite of their incompetence. . 

In October 2009, Mrs. Harris-Brooks decided it was critical to ensure no one on the Board was voted out during the upcoming 2010 election. Her concern and that of the President was that any change could offset their plans for the credit union. At the time as exists today, the Directors were all subservient to Mrs. Harris-Brooks. At the time, Mrs. Harris-Brooks, President Wiggington, and then COO, Beatrice Walker concocted a scheme to ensure the Board remain unchanged.  

Under state law, the credit union is to inform all members in good-standing, about the impending election and invite them to nominate themselves to run for either a seat on the Board or on the Supervisory Committee. Though ballots had been mailed, the three officers decided to only publish the notice and invitation in the Credit Union's Winter Newsletter which is ONLY mailed to members who have a savings and checking account and thereby excluding the very large number of members who only have a savings account. 

Their plan may have worked had we not discovered it and exposed it on this blog. Though the electoral process had begun, the Board and Supervisory Committee held an emergency meeting in South Pasadena and determined that the failure to have advertised the election and invitation to members compliant to state law could result in sanctions against the credit union. And so, new ballots were printed and money again spent on mailing these to members. The officers not only caused the credit union to spend even more monies to repeat the election but they violated state law somehow believing that their ploy would go unnoticed.

Forced to hold a second electoral process, then COO, Beatrice Walker, and then Credit Resolutions Manager, Yvonne Boutte, told staff assigned to the Member Services and Credit Resolutions Department not to vote for incumbent Director, Janice Irving, whose seat had come up for re-election. In 2008, Mrs. Irving unwittingly provoked the ire of the President and Board Chair when she voted for termination of the President after reviewing evidence proving he sexually harassed a former employee. Upon his reinstatement, Mrs. Harris-Brooks informed the President that Mrs. Irving had been one of two dissenting votes. In response, the President declared, "I'm going to make sure she get out of here!" Unfortunately, for the President, Mrs. Harris-Brooks, Ms. Walker, Mrs. Boutte and the others, Mrs. Irving was not only one of the winners in the election but she tallied the highest number of votes amongst all the contenders. 

Another reason why Mrs. Harris-Brooks tampered with the electoral process is that at the time, she received a nomination from a former White Board Director. The former Director had been branded the enemy by Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the President in 2007 while he served on the Board. At the time, the Director, a White male, received an anonymous letter at his home exposing then AVP, Liz Campos, of kiting. The Director delivered the letter in person, to the office of then credit union attorney, William Adler. Mr. Adler contacted the President and Mrs. Harris-Brooks and ordered an investigation of the AVP's bank records. The investigation revealed more than 24 separate incidents in which she overdrew her Priority One checking account. The investigation also showed that she was not charged the customary and required non-sufficient fund fee. It was also discovered that she had been writing checks in amounts exceeding her balances drawn from accounts at two other institutions. At the time, President Wiggington adamantly denied all knowledge of the more than 24 separate incidents despite the fact that the abuses occurred while he served as Vice President of Operations. Evidently, he lied.

Mrs. Campos was terminated for violating federal law and the incensed President expressed his furor against the Director who delivered the anonymous letter to the credit union's attorney. The the termination was performed accordance to policy, the childish and obtuse President was incensed because he had hand-picked Mrs. Campos for promotion to AVP despite her well-documented abuses to her checking account. 

What's more, Mrs. Harris-Brooks joined the fray, calling the Director who exposed the incident into a meeting and chastising him in the presence of other Directors, for not delivering the letter to her instead of the credit union's legal counsel. She warned the Director that should he ever circumvent the Board again, he would be removed from the Board. Evidently, the delusional Mrs. Harris-Brooks forgot that she is not an attorney nor is she qualified to investigate allegations that federal laws have been violated. What's more, she lacks the objectivity or ethics required to conduct an impartial investigation. 

In 2008, attorney William Adler received a letter from a former employee, informing him she had been sexually harassed by the President for many years prior while he served as Vice President of Operations. Mr. Adler ordered an investigation during which the President was placed on suspension. During his 8-week absence, Mrs. Harris-Brooks ordered the President be paid his salary. Historically, all other employees of Priority One who have been suspended are suspended without pay. 

At the conclusion of the investigation conducted by EXTTI, Inc., the investigator submitted evidence proving the President sexually harassed the former employee and recommended Mr. Wiggington's termination. Mrs. Harris-Brooks fought the recommendation and along with Supervisory Committee Chair, Cornelia Simmons, and Directors, O. Glen Saffold and Thomas Gathers, voted and won reinstatement of the President despite the fact he violated federal law. 

It was also Mrs. Harris-Brooks who signed a letter to the former employee who filed the complaint and advised her that according to the Board's "understanding" of what defines sexual harassment, the President had not violated federal law, adding that the information compiled suggested that the employee had not only participated the sexualized gestures and comments from the President, but provoked him into sexualized exchanges. Mrs. Harris-Brooks not only squashed the evidence, she violated credit union policy which quite specifically calls for the termination of ANYONE found to have committed sexual harassment. What's more, Mrs. Harris-Brooks vilified the former female employee by insinuating that Mr. Wiggington's illegal actions were somehow encouraged by the former employee.  Mrs. Harris-Brooks' determination in the matter, actually her manipulation and distortion of the facts were a travesty though quite revealing of her actual character. 

Following his reinstatement, President Wiggington decided to avenge himself against those who had caused him to be suspended. He decided to install a Financial Planner at the main branch in South Pasadena. Not-so-coincidentally, the Director who delivered the letter to Attorney, William Adler, was also a Financial Planner employed by CUSO. The President hired the Director to serve as the credit union's first Financial Planner. Because the Director could not work at the credit union while serving as a member of the Board, the Director resigned his position. Two months after being hired, the Director was abruptly terminated for unsatisfactory performance. 

In 2010, following receipt of the former Director’s application, Mrs. Harris-Brooks immediately conferred with President Wiggington  and it was decided that they must impede the Director from being reinstated on the Board. Director, Bobby Thomas, offered to induct a postal carrier who would run for a seat on the board. Because Mr. Thomas was an officer of the National Letter Carriers Association, Branch 24 in Los Angeles, he assured Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the President that he would make sure postal carriers voted for his nominee and thus lessen the amount of votes that might otherwise be cast for the former Director. 

The scheme almost failed when Mr. Thomas' nominee failed to submit his application to run in the election, though the deadline was quickly approaching.  Concerned, Mrs. Harris-Brooks mailed a letter to the postal carrier reminding him of the deadline, an act she had never committed for any other potential candidate.  A few days following the deadline, the postal carrier arrived at the main branch and asked to speak to the President. The President who never meets with members, sent his administrative assistant to meet with the carrier. His assistant was handed a packet containing the member's application even though the deadline to submit the application had already expired. 

The application was handed to the President who giddily exclaimed, “I’ve been expecting this!” He immediately called Mrs. Harris-Brooks to inform her the application had finally been received despite it having been received  late.  

Mrs. Harris-Brooks, the President and Director, Bobby Thomas succeeded in disrupting the election. Though the former Director did not win a seat on the Board, neither did Mr. Thomas' nominee. However, their intent was to defer as many votes from the former Director to their candidate and in this they did succeed. However, the three never considered the 
ramifications their actions might have upon future elections. The President, the Board Chair, and Director Thomas, transformed what had traditionally been a democratic and unbiased electoral process into a joke. 

To identify Diedra Harris-Brooks' accomplishments and contributions requires first reading what she says about her competencies and education. Then all one has to do is simply compare what she writes about herself with what is documented in credit union reports. 

During the 2010 election, Mrs. Harris-Brooks' seat came up for re-election. At the time, she submitted the following biography, which we originally published on this blog on November 28, 2011 and written in the third person, describing her abilities, education, and hopes. 

“She has held the position [Board Director] for the past six years and is dedicated to her responsibilities as a volunteer.”

Mrs. Harris-Brooks alleged dedication to her responsibilities is certainly arguable. We've no doubt of her dedication but not for the well-being of the credit union or its members but to ensuring her whims are satiated and her continued control. guaranteed. As is well documented, Mrs. Harris-Brooks has far over-extended her authority exceeded what is defined under state law. She doesn't oversee the credit union's operation to ensure its sound performance, she is the one who decides what will be implemented and what will not. In fact, in 2007, prior to his suspension from the credit union, the President complained to Executive Vice President, Rodger Smock, that Mrs. Harris-Brooks was in his words "pushy" and "over-extending her authority." 

Beginning in 2008, Mrs. Harris-Brooks ordered that all advertising be presented to her and the Board for approval. At the time, she asserted that she as a former expert in marketing was most qualified to decide what promotions were acceptable for publication. 

Based on the credit union's lackluster performance as attested to by 6 branch closures is sufficient to draw a relationship between the credit union's ongoing failures and the Board of Directors who clearly don't comprehend the credit union's financials or management principles. A key deficiency of the Board is its blind subserviency to Mrs. Harris-Brooks and President Wiggington. This is certainly a reason why in 2007, President Wiggington described the Board as "not very smart" and why former COO, Beatrice Walker," labeled them "ignorant and uneducated."  

Furthermore, Mrs. Harris-Brooks' alleged dedication to the credit union was not attested to in 2008 when she suppressed evidence presented by an investigator from EXTTI, Inc. proving Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. sexually harassed a former employee. It was also not attested to in 2009, when it became public that the President ordered the repossession of a member's BMW and then transferred ownership of the vehicle to himself. At the time of the repossession, he circumvented credit union procedures and even helped create sham documentation to create the appearance had been sent to auction when in fact, he acquired it in defiance to ethics and credit union policy. Mrs. Harris-Brooks' interference with the electoral process in 2010 certainly dispels her assertion that she is dedicated to the credit union and her authorization allowing more than $500,000 to be spent on legal fees to protect the unethical President, corrupt Human Resources Department, and former COO, Beatrice Walker, from prosecution when they each violated state and federal laws, serves to discredit any claim by the Chairperson that she is genuinely concerned for Priority One's well being. 

While serving as Board Chair, the credit union's business has declined steadily year after year while the credit union integrity as an employer compromised and its public reputation, tarnished. Of course, nothing attests more to her dedication than does the closure of 6 branches since October 2010 and the more than $24 million drop of Net Income since January 1, 2007. Clearly, Mrs. Harris-Brooks needs to acquaint herself with what defines dedication. 

“Mrs. Harris-Brooks attended the University of Phoenix where she completed Business Management and Marketing courses holding a 3.5 GPA. Her knowledge in Marketing and computer skills has proven to be an asset to Priority One.”

If Mrs. Harris-Brooks achieved a 3.5 GPA in Business Management and Marketing Courses its certainly not attested to in the credit union's lackluster performance.. And one might have assumed that an alleged expert in business management would understand the harm that would be caused by eliminating business development, compromising marketing and member service, and by closing branches.  

She also fails to provide an example as to how her “knowledge in Marketing and computer skills has proven to be an asset to Priority One.” Priority One has been in a downward spiral since 2007 and as attested to by branch closures and the immense drop of its Net Income. Clearly her alleged knowledge in Marketing is highly suspect. And what computer skills is she referring to? Is she referring to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access or Publisher? If so, how has her knowledge in any of these proven to be an "asset" to the credit union? We know the board room at the South Pasadena branch does not have a computer. We also know she doesn't have an office or desk at the main branch. We know she's never been seen using a computer when visiting the main branch. So we can safely conclude she isn't utilizing her computer skills while visiting the main branch. We also know that all Directors and Supervisors have free access to the Internet because President Wiggington authorized remote access to the credit union's network from their homes. We doubt Mrs. Harris-Brooks is working while at home, using her computer to access the credit union's network. If she is, then what is it that she does?   

“She began her career as a clerk in 1969 at the Inglewood Mail Processing Center. Promoted to management in 1985, she left a 20-year legacy of exceptional managerial service and earned the respect of her employees. Her promotions included Manager of Consumer Affairs, Business Center and Retail and was assigned detailed positions to Manager, Marketing and Manager Administrative Services.”

She omitted all evidence of her "legacy of exceptional managerial service" or proof she "earned the respect of her employees." With that said, we will either have to take her word on this or chalk it up to just more conjecture from a Board Chair who has not only manipulated credit union policies but has done all in her authority to cover-up wrong doing and business failures committed by Charles R. Wiggington, Sr.  

“Diedra continues to expand her knowledge of the operations of this credit union and is looking forward to continuing her voluntary services to the Board of Directors, Priority One Executive staff, employees and members.” 

The closures of the Valencia and Redlands branches in 2010, closure of the Riverside branch in 2011, closure of the Burbank branch in 2012, the closure of the Airport branch in 2013, and closure of the Santa Clarita branch in 2014, are conspicuously inconsistent to Mrs. Harris-Brooks statement that she is continuing to expand her knowledge of operations at the credit union. Its quite evident, she has not! Not only hasn't she learned anything from her many mistakes but she's exerted tremendous time, energy, and credit union money to hide the blunders she and the board sanctioned, though evidently her costly efforts to hide the truth failed. 

Mrs. Harris-Brooks' 2010 biography is riddled with generalizations.  Mrs. Harris-Brooks knows all too well that probably most members never read candidate biographies. Her statements about her competencies and education are not only unimpressive but lack any specificity that could show how her alleged qualifications relate to the post of Director and Board Chair and whatever it is she's accomplished. The fact stands, that irrelevant of what she wrote about herself, the credit union's current state and its myriad of operational issues more than suffice to prove she is ill-qualified to serve on the Board, either as a Director or as its Chairperson. 

In early 2012, the President proudly announced that a petition had been filed with the state of California to grant Priority One Credit Union a charter to do business in the city of South Pasadena, California.  The request was eventually approved and membership to Priority One Credit Union is now open to people living, working, and worshiping in the city of South Pasadena. 

Though Priority One is headquartered in South Pasadena, they have been unable to offer membership to people in that lovely city for many years. Prior to receiving approval to do business in South Pasadena, the credit union could only grant membership to employees of the United States Postal Service and employees of contracted SEG's and of course, their families. 

First of all, South Pasadena is a lovely city. It is also an old and up scale community where stately old homes stand amidst beautifully tree-lined streets. With exception of three supermarkets- Vons, Pavilions, and Bristol Farms, South Pasadena is the home of many businesses- mostly small, privately owned shops. The credit union's main branch stands alongside apartment complexes with no other business immediately near it for at least two blocks. Years ago, the credit union failed in a bid to install and ATM machine because citizens of the city thought the ATM could potentially attract crime to what is a very safe city. 

It must be noted that before President Wiggington could request a charter for the city of South Pasadena, his request had to be reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors. The President convinced them that an affluent city like South Pasadena would be wonderful source of desperately needed income. The Board Chair concurred, believing that South Pasadena might provide a rich source for new business despite the fact that the community has, as we stated previously, many small privately owned businesses. Vons and Pavilions are affiliates and they have their own credit union, disqualifying them as a source for new memberships. Bristol Farms is an upscale store but it has a small contingent of employees and is hardly a source for either new business or memberships. 

Despite limited resources from which to obtain new business and new members, Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the Board found it prudent to approve the President's request seeking a charter in the city of South Pasadena. Its nothing short of incredible, that President Wiggington believes South Pasadena will provide a wonderful source for new business. And if the President is no longer able to provide service to the Santa Clarita Valley, in the city of Burbank and its surrounding communities, in the many cities located around the Los Angeles International Airport and in all of Riverside County, then how can he believe the credit union can service the city of South Pasadena and generate the level of service needed to produce sorely needed income and profit? 


As anyone reading the credit union's financial reports knows, since Charles R. Wiggington. Sr. became President, Priority One has been trapped in a cycle of ongoing decline. To stave off a complete shut down of credit union, the President under approval of the Board Chairperson and her Board,  frequently implemented often drastic reductions in spending which allowed the credit union to remain in business though compromising its potential to grow and market its products. Inarguably, under Mrs. Harris-Brooks' leadership, Priority One has become a smaller, less competitive credit union though it is also Mrs. Harris-Brooks who has fervently led the cavalry denouncing the credit union's critics and who through the years, sanctioned the President's fervent persecution of alleged "enemy" employees who were terminated in the years between 2009 through 2012. However, despite Mrs. Harris-Brooks and her Board's efforts, in 2014, the evidence of the President's failed enterprises, plots against employees, wasted spending of credit union monies, and embarrassing scandals can no longer be camouflaged, denied, or covered up. 

Mrs. Harris-Brooks can never claim she had insufficient time in which to resolve the challenges impeding Priority One from regaining it's former foothold in the credit union industry. She has not only failed to live up to her own self-promoted hyperbole, she actually participated and even headed schemes which violated ethics, laws and credit union policy all in an aggressive effort to secure her hold over the once prospering credit union. Though President Wiggington is the author behind many of the factors which contributed to Priority One's decline, most of his actions could never have occurred had he not been enabled by Mrs. Harris-Brooks and her deficient pack of Directors. Mrs. Harris-Brooks is not an insignificant player in the credit union's decline, it was she after all who...
  • Allowed the President to cover-up his breach of security in 2007, which resulted in the erroneous mailing of ballots to members in envelopes on whose exteriors were printed the Member credit union account and social security numbers.
  • In 2008, it was again Mrs. Harris-Brooks who led Directors, O. Glen Saffold and Thomas Gathers, along with Supervisory Committee Chair, Cornelia Simmons, to ignore tangible evidence gathered by an investigator from EXTTI, Inc. proving the President sexually harassed a former employee. 
  • Who who signed the letter sent to the victim who was sexually harassed by the President, informing her that she had somehow encouraged and participated in the exchange of sexualized comments and gestures with the President.
  • In 2009, it was Mrs. Harris-Brooks who authorized the hiring of notorious former COO, Beatrice Walker, who was to create new streams of income and help drive out subversive employees. Mrs. Harris-Brooks also knowingly allowed the persecution of several employees who the President and COO believed where conspiring to topple their authority. In July 2011, It was Mrs. Harris-Brooks who eventually authorized the expulsion of Ms. Walker's because of her failures to fulfill her responsibilities, her polarizing effect upon the credit union and its environment and due to rumors circulating about her alleged sexual preference.  
  • In late 2009, Mrs. Harris-Brooks entered into a plot which disrupted the credit union's electoral process and which forced the credit union to perform a second election so to avoid state sanctions for having violated the law. Her antics forced the credit union to spend money reprinting ballots and money to resend the ballots to members.
  • In 2011, it was Mrs. Harris-Brooks who authorized the hiring and later, firing of CLO, Cindy Garvin, for allegedly failing to fulfill her responsibilities.  
In her 2010 biography, Mrs. Harris-Brooks stated that she is dedicated to the credit union but Priority One's performance suggests she was not so much dedicated as obsessed with a need to control all facets of the credit union's operation and because of her limited knowledge of financials and managements, it was she who most contributed to the credit union's decay. There is nothing in her actions that suggests she cares about the credit union, its members or its employees. If there is, we invite anyone including Mrs. Harris-Brooks to provide evidence proving that she is indeed dedicated and that under her leadership the credit union grew and prospered. Its not an unreasonable request and certainly someone as allegedly dedicated as Mrs. Harris-Brooks should have no problem producing the evidence.  

Furthermore, Mrs. Harris-Brooks has shown absolutely no hesitation to use credit union funds to carryout her schemes including her involvement in disrupting the 2010 election and hiring expensive lawyers to defend the President and his posy against allegations they violated state and federal laws and credit union policies.

In the end, it doesn't matter what the President or Board Chair use as a defense or justification for their abominable acts, the fact remains that the credit union's own documented records referencing losses, exorbitant spending, account closures that exceed new account openings, branch closures, and the massive drop in Net Income, prove that the credit union's many internal problems were created and perpetuated by the President, the Board Chair, and the Board. 

If members believe Priority One is worth saving, then we hope someone submitted their nomination. If no one did, then Priority One's decline will continue, unimpeded because the factors that caused the credit union's decline remain securely in place. It is highly possible that sometime in the near future, Priority One will have to again close the doors to one of its remaining 3 branches- that's of course, if they wish to remain in business.  We believe the closures are just prolonging the inevitable. If Mrs. Harris-Brooks' goal was to transform Priority One into a single branch credit union, then she is indeed succeeding and almost there.

Next Month, Mrs. Harris-Brooks Annual Report Promises

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Anonymous said...

Let me tell you, Diedra is the most insecure, pretentious person I've ever met. She used to drop by the old Marina branch and the bitch had attitude. Too bad her ghettoness was too big to cover her mightier than thou attitude. I've spoken to lots of people who worked for her at LAPDC and no, they did not respect or like her ass. She's got nerve writing that she was respected. Not in this lifetime. She tried to get pushy with Mr. Harris, thought she could just march into his office without calling or making an appointment but he ripped her a new one and she stopped thinking she ran the place. Then that loser Wiggington becomes President and she shows him that she's the man in that relationship. After he got suspended and she brought him back, he had to kiss her big ass because now he owes her. He made a pact with the devil. She runs the credit union and she's run it into the ground. Its been her whose pulled Wiggington by his big wide nostrils and dragged him around like he's her bitch. She's made the credit union what it is today. Well she and the loser directors. Hale, Thomas and Saffold are all sissies who cater to her lowness and none has the balls to ever say, "Hey Diedra, your ideas suck."

Anonymous said...

Diedra and the board are racist. No way you spend all that money protecting Wigg and its not about color.

Anonymous said...

your right the web site is filled with old information. it's so bad they have stuff on there that is really old. I used to love to show my debit card when Maggie was there and we changed our name and logo now it's so bad and damm ugly I am embarrass to use my card. I joint an other credit union and they are so nice, when you go there it makes you fell good like P1 use to be when Mr. Harris was there. When you walk into P1 it fells nasty. Ulgy and you just want to get out. Members hate comming here now.

Anonymous said...

Something is definitely wrong. No one is updating the website plus they don't mail out advertising like they used to. Mr. Harris ran a tight ship but Wigg is a slob. He treats the credit union like that house he lives in. Then again, any President who wears cheap suits, short sleeve shirts and either no ties or cheap looking ties is not going to have a great looking or running organization. He got rid of "you are our first priority" 3 or 4 years ago because he told is in a meeting there were too many members complaining about the service. Rather than fix service he decided to change to "we are a financial fitness center." Since they prove they're not, wonder what he'll change that to next?

Anonymous said...

Wigg: I called this meeting because our taglines don't work no mo. You guys rememba hows we couldn't live up to 'you are our first piority.' Now that we lost all them branches we can't live up to 'we are your financial finess cener'. Any ideas for new tagline?

Smock: How about, "We have cookies and punch at the main branch? Only 2 per member."

West: I think we need to focus on more than just food. How about, "Come and see our cubicles. They're big and new!"

Patti L: Well, how about we have loans to offer but you'll probably get denied cause good credit doesn't mean as much as it used to plus we can't afford to be lending out money. Its a big risk."

Yvonne: Ah think we should focus on staff. Maybe we can says "We might not have goods service but owa staff is underpaid and I make sures they work or else!"

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if they're going to close the LAPDC office?

Anonymous said...

So far we're not getting much business from South Pasadena. There's a lot of Chinese living here and they have money but they're not going to deposit it in a black run credit union plus they tend to go to their own. Its not a question of race its about what they're familiar with. Stupid Wigg ignored that when he asked the state for a charter. He is the biggest dumb ass I've ever met.

Anonymous said...

I bet Wigg was so proud when the state approved the charter.

Al Sharpton said...

Diedra is ghetto. She only knows ghetto. What she did to Priority One is pure ghetto. Diedra would probably complain that the liquor stores and mom and pop markets in south central are owned by Koreans who charge too much for what they sell but Diedra couldn't open a liquor store or market and if she did, she'd run it into the ground because she, Saffold, Hale, Marchica, and Thomas are ghetto minded midgets trying to play big time when its outside of anything they know.

Anonymous said...

I thought Priority MC was supposed to provide more information about what the cu did to the last person that sued. What happened? Come on PMC!

Anonymous said...

What about the branch in LA is the post office kidding them out?

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone would be kidding the LAPDC out but they might be kicking them out. Anyway who would be surprised if they have to close another office. At least Charley is good at shutting down business. Anyone ever notice how his house is a mess? Or how he drives all beat up cars and talks like they're worth more than $1500 each? How about his children? Ever check out Chucky? What a pain in the ass and won't stop talking (wonder who he's like- mom or DAD?)? And why is it that when WHITE Bea got hired, she was brought in to turn the mess BLACK Charles and BLACK Deedra caused and then when she couldn't do it they fired WHITE Bea? Then they hired WHITE Cindy and she was supposed to fix the problems BLACK Charles and BLACK Deedra caused but when she couldn't do it they fired WHITE Cindy? At priority one they don't have the KKK they got the BKK!

Anonymous said...

I'm a member of South Pasadena FCU. You have to belong to a SEG or work for the cities of Pasadena, San Gabriel or Sierra Madre or be a volunteer but its a good credit union and they have an ATM and parking that's not dark and under a building. Go to

Anonymous said...

There's always something going on at the credit union. The place is scandalous.

Anonymous said...

Diedra was trying to push her weight around before Wigg became president but she couldn't get far because Mr Harris wasn't going to let a dumb bitch like her run the credit union. Thats why business was good. But Wigg is a dumb ass and he's a p*ssy. He let Diedra pull him by the nose. Diedra is the one who decides the direction of the credit union. He has to take all campaigns to her and even advertising which is none of her business. Marketing is bad because he needs her approval for all marketing. The woman is poison and if she did study marketing like her bio says then she didn't learn a damn thing.

Anonymous said...

Wiggington is still president? Wow. Never thought he'd last this long.

Anonymous said...

They tell us business is good and then they ride us to get loan applications or else. Either business is good or its not. Yvonne calls LA and Van Nuys to push for loans as if telling them once isn't enough. Patti pushes loans but what she isn't doing is helping improve service. First, why can't members get a decision in at least 24 hours just like every other credit union? And even if we can get people to get a loan, they now have to either drive to south LA or Van Nuys or Pasadena to sign the papers. That's not convenient if you live in Burbank, Santa Clarita, West Covina, Baldwin Park, Long Beach, or Riverside. You can't use the app to fund a loan can you? You can't sign documents using home banking can you? Can you use share branching to sign loan docs?

Anonymous said...

You can't even get a free pen or key chain anymore.

Anonymous said...

Anybody get their ballots?

Anonymous said...

No ballots so far. Diedra not only chased away people from ever wanting to run for the board but she killed the elections. Way to go Dee! New tagline, "Priority One- getting smaller by the minute."

Anonymous said...

The first annual meeting I attended was in 2005. I had been to annual meetings when I worked for Wells Fargo but never been to one for a credit union. It was kind of shocking. I expected a better quality group of people on the board. Instead I saw people that didn't look too smart and when Diedra and Thomas spoke, they didn't sound too smart. I attended one in 2007 and Wigg spoke. What an embarrassment! They way he spoke, it was like he was talking to customers at Fat Burgers. The man had no class, his vocabulary was so limited and the one he dressed with a short-sleeved shirt and cheap tie. All that was missing was a pen holder. It comes as no surprise that he turned the credit union into a small disrespected organization. People do talk about the credit union but its never good.

Anonymous said...

Have been a member for 20 plus years.
Service at the branches suck, no one ever answers the phone either at Pasadena head Office or Van Nuys.
In Process of closing my accounts.

Anonymous said...

You call the credit union and it sometimes takes 20 minutes to answer the phone. You call the branches and their number are disconnected. You call and ask for employees who were there for years and years and who were always helpful and they're all gone. What did Wiggington do to the credit union? Its incredible that he was allowed to ruin a great credit union and its even more incredible that the board is made up of a bunch of brain dead former postal workers who have no loyalty to the post office. Guess they forgot the credit union was a postal credit union until Wiggington ruined it.

Anonymous said...

Diedra and Charles have made a big mess of the credit union, they
ruined that P1.

And Charles is still running his mouth, makes you sick with his big mouth.

Anonymous said...

beside downhill, what's left for P1?

Anonymous said...

They still have 3 more branches they could close. The next one will probably be Van Nuys because it makes less business than LA or SP. That should keep them going another 6 to 12 months. Then after that the post office will probably ask them to leave the LAPDC which will give them another year. Members hate going to south pas because its depressing so they'll probably close the doors to that one in 2 years.

Anonymous said...

They need to close South Pasadena. Worst branch around. Tellers never smile and not that bright.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Smock own real estate property and that nice house in Echo Park? He didn't do a thing when he was younger and now that he's super old, he's even more useless but still getting that big salary. And you know Wigg doesn't spend his money on his home or on badly needed facials. He and Smock have spent years ripping off the credit union, not doing their jobs (when's the last time they did anything to make P1 a better CU?) and fattening up their bank accounts. They're just plain old vultures.

Anonymous said...

John, has Diedra ever provided you with any proof that she and the board are doing their job?

Anonymous said...

John, has Diedra ever provided you with any proof that she and the board are doing their job?

Anonymous said...

I was out at the LA office on Friday. What a depressing place. It was a nice office when Lynnette was running but if you drop by, look at the faces of the workers. So sad.

Anonymous said...

Why would Deidra of all people provided information for this blog? she is most likely to hide things from this blog her and the sheep she calls a board!!!

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how no one at P1 ever steps up and says here's the proof this blog is full of sh*t?

Anonymous said...

WOW they do not even have a newsletter on line anymore, the last one it from 2013! and I wonder it them will be the annual report up on line

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